Howard Brown Health Center exists to eliminate the disparities in health care experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through research, education and the provision of services that promote health and wellness.
Howard Brown is the Midwest’s premier lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) health care organization, and leads the region in addressing the comprehensive health care needs of people in the LGBT community. Our multi-site operation includes a main health center in Uptown, Triad Health practice at Illinois Masonic Hospital, the Broadway Youth Center, and four Brown Elephant Resale Shops in Chicago and Oak Park. Howard Brown provides an expansive network of programs and services, accomplished with a diverse and qualified staff of licensed doctors, nurses, health care practitioners, renowned research professionals, and prominent community leaders.
Founded in 1974 to provide testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases within the gay community, Howard Brown and a group of volunteers made an early and significant contribution by serving as a community-based research site for testing and approval of the Hepatitis B vaccine.
Howard Brown then responded to an entirely new challenge: HIV/AIDS. At the onset of the HIV epidemic in 1980, Howard Brown became the Midwest’s reliable source for HIV education with the area’s first information hotline. In 1982, Howard Brown was chosen by the National Institutes of Health to participate in the largest study of HIV and AIDS in the world. (More than 20 years later, the MACS study still continues at Howard Brown, and among other things, follows the general health and the longitudinal progression of HIV in its HIV-positive subjects.) Soon after, confidential HIV testing and prevention education were offered, and the first HIV case management and support services program was begun. In response to growing community needs, in 1991 our services expanded to include comprehensive HIV primary care, counseling, and psychotherapy for those living with HIV.
In addition to the extensive demands for the care and treatment of HIV and AIDS, Howard Brown recognized the community’s need for non-HIV services. When Howard Brown opened its new facility in October, 1997, services included general primary care, counseling, behavioral health, and case management for the LGBT community.
Howard Brown now administers a range of medical and behavioral health services, with sliding scale rates, to ensure that everyone in these underserved populations receives essential healthcare needs, in addition to ongoing research.